Jeremiah 16:1-17:13

The Lord tells Jeremiah about great troubles that he will cause for his people.

1-2 The Lord said to me, ‘You must not marry and you must not have sons or daughters here. 3 Sons and daughters who are born in this country will die from bad illnesses. Their mothers and fathers will die, too. 4 Their bodies will lie on the ground. And nobody will be sad and nobody will bury them. Nobody will give any honour to them. Soldiers will kill them. Or they will die because they do not have any food. Birds and wild animals will eat the dead bodies.’

5 ‘Do not go into a house where they are eating a meal to remember a dead person. You may be sorry that the person is dead. But do not show them that you are sorry. Do that because I have taken my love and my blessings away from them,’ says the Lord. 6 ‘Nobody will bury dead people. Nobody will bury them, whether they are rich or poor. Nobody will be sad. Nobody will show other people how sad they are. They will not cut themselves, or remove the hair from their heads. 7 Nobody will give food to families when someone has died. They will not even give food to them if their mother or father has died. And nobody will give a drink to them to try to make them happy.

8 And do not go into a house where they are having a party. Do not sit down with them to eat and to drink.’

9 And the Lord of power, the God of Israel, said to me, ‘That is because I will stop their happy songs and marriage parties in this place. I will do that while you are still alive. And you will see it.

10 You must tell to the people everything that I have said. Then they will ask questions. “Why has the Lord said all these bad things about us? What wrong things have we done? What sin have we done against the Lord, our God?” 11 Then you must speak to them. “It is because your ancestors went away from me”, says the Lord. “They worshipped other gods and they became their servants. They turned away from me and they did not obey my law. 12 But you have done worse things than your ancestors. Each of you does what he wants. You know that. You do it even when it is wrong. You do not obey me. 13 So I will throw you out of this country into a country that you and your ancestors have not known. There you will be servants to other gods, day and night, because I will not help you.” ’

16:13Verses 1-13 Jeremiah's life would be like a message.

14 ‘But a better time will come,’ says the Lord. ‘Men will not talk about the time when I, the living God, took them out of Egypt. 15 I will bring them back to the country that I gave to their ancestors. So, instead they will say, “The Lord brought the people out from the country in the north. He brought them out from all the countries that he had sent them to. Certainly the Lord lives.” ’

16:15Verses 14-15 The Lord talks about a better time that will come.

16 ‘But now I will make them like fish. I will send for many men to fish for them,’ says the Lord. ‘And these men will catch them. Then I will send hunters to run after them like wild animals. The hunters will find them in the mountains and hills and in holes in the rocks. 17 I am watching them all the time. They cannot hide from me. And they cannot hide the wrong things that they do. 18 I will punish them twice as much for their sin and for the bad things that they have done. That is because they have made my country like a place full of dirt. They have filled it with their idols that do not have any life. They have made the country that I gave to you full of their disgusting idols.’

16:18Verses 16-18 The people cannot hide from God.

19 Lord, you are the person who makes me strong.

You are like a city with strong walls – a city that I can hide in.

I can hide in you when troubles happen to me.

People will come to you from countries all over the earth.

They will say, ‘Our ancestors had only false gods.

They did not have any power and they did not help us.

20 Men make “gods”, but they are not really gods.’

21 ‘So I will teach them.

This time I will teach them

how strong and powerful I am.

Then they will know that the Lord is my name.’

16:21Verses 19-20 Jeremiah says how the Lord made him strong.

Jeremiah 17

1 ‘All the people in Judah are full of sin.

It is deep in every part of their bodies.

It is like something that someone has written with a pen of iron.

And they use their altars to sin against me.

It is like something that someone has written on the corners of those altars.

2 Even their children

use their altars and sticks that they call gods.

They put those tall sticks on high hills

and under big trees.

3 Enemies will come to my mountain that is in your country.

They will take away all the valuable things from there.

They will take away all the things that make you rich.

I will do that because of the sin of the people in all my country.

4 You will lose the country that I gave to your ancestors.

You will lose it because of your own sin.

Your enemies will make you their slaves.

You will live in a country that you do not know.

You have made me very angry,

and you cannot stop me being angry.’

17:4Verses 1-4 These verses talk about Judah's sin.

5 The Lord spoke again.

‘Some people trust humans.

I will punish everyone who thinks like that.

They think that humans can make them strong.

They do not ask the Lord for help.

6 Those people will be like a bush in the wilderness.

They will not become rich when other people become rich.

They will stay in dry salty places where nobody lives.

7 The person who lets the Lord lead him is not like that.

The Lord will bless the man who follows him.

8 He will be like a tree near water

that drinks from the river.

He will not be afraid of the sun's heat.

He will be like a tree that is always green.

The tree gives much fruit and it always has enough water.

9 A person's mind may deceive him and cause trouble.

It is sick and nobody can make it better.

Nobody can completely understand it.

10 But I, the Lord, can look inside a person's thoughts.

I can see what he thinks and what he feels.

I see how each person lives, and I see the things that they do.

I give to each one what is right, good or bad.

11 A man may get rich because he is not fair to other people.

He is like a bird that sits on eggs. But the eggs are not its own.

He will lose his riches before he is old.

At the end of his life, people will see that he is a fool.’

12 Our God's throne was from the beginning.

It is high up in the holy place.

17:12The holy place is the temple on Mount Zion.

13 Lord, Israel's people are your people. And they trust you.

All who go away from you will be ashamed.

Those who turn away from you will die.

They will die because they have gone away from the Lord.

He is the living water that gives life to them.